The Importance of Texas Police Records
If you have ever had a run-in with the law in Texas, then there is a good chance you have a Texas police record in your name. Police records need to be taken extremely seriously since they can have a massive impact on your quality of life. Simple tasks, like applying for a bank loan, getting into college, finding housing, or landing a job, can all become exponentially more difficult if you have a police record. That is why it is always a good idea to know what, if anything, is on your police record.
Likewise, you may want to know if a friend or acquaintance of yours has a police record in Texas. For example, you may be concerned about a new neighbor or you may want reassurance that a potential date doesn’t pose any risks. Below we will look at how to go about looking up a police record in Texas and what information such records contain.
What is a Texas Police Record?
As in most states, a police record in Texas can actually refer to a variety of different types of records. Your Texas police record, for example, may show a history of your arrests, convictions, sex offender registrations, outstanding arrest warrants, serious traffic violations, juvenile offenses, and more. A complete Texas police record will essentially include any record of a person’s interaction with state or local law enforcement agencies in Texas.
The quality of the police record you receive will depend on how well local law enforcement agencies have been at maintaining and sharing their records with the state. Generally, your Texas police record should include all police interactions you’ve had in Texas, but some items may be missing if a local law enforcement agency failed to share a record of their encounter with you with state record keepers.
Keep in mind that some interactions with law enforcement may not be included on a police record for privacy or constitutional reasons. Texas law allows for the record of an arrest that does not lead to a conviction or guilty plea to be expunged under certain circumstances. Texas also allows those who have completed the terms of their deferred adjudication probation to apply for an Order of Nondisclosure. An Order of Nondisclosure is what other states refer to as sealing records. This means that while the record of a conviction will not be removed from a police record entirely, it will no longer be viewable by the public. Law enforcement and certain government agencies can still view sealed records. It is important to know that not all offenses are eligible for an Order of Nondisclosure and those that are must usually still abide by a waiting period.
Furthermore, juvenile offenses are also more likely to be expunged or sealed, meaning they will not be viewable on a police record in most instances.
How to Search Texas Police Records
The Texas Department of Public Safety should be your first stop for looking up a police record in Texas. The Texas DPS runs a Conviction Database that is viewable by the public. This online database contains information about arrests, prosecutions, and case dispositions. As stated above, some police interactions may have been expunged or sealed on these records.
To get your police record from the Texas DPS you must complete an application either online or through the mail. You will need to submit a copy of your fingerprints to the Texas DPS, which can be done electronically or in person. You can get your fingerprints done through a Fingerprint Applicant Services of Texas (FAST) location, which you can book an appointment at through this website operated by IdentoGo, which is the exclusive fingerprint service operator for the State of Texas.
You can also get a local police record from your local police department. Each police department maintains a record of their interactions with individuals. Some police departments will only accept applications for police records in person and on certain days, although mail-in requests are usually also acceptable. The El Paso Police Department, for example, typically only accepts in-person record requests on the last Wednesday of every month. Remember that a local police record will not contain information from other law enforcement agencies, even if they are in Texas.
Also, if you are just trying to satisfy your curiosity then you should also look up Texas criminal records , which will typically include Texas police records, through third-party online databases, including SearchQuarry.com.
Texas Police Records Are Criminal Records
You may be wondering whether or not a Texas police record is the same as a criminal record. The answer is both yes and no. A complete Texas police record will contain your criminal record, including your previous arrests and convictions, but a police record will also include information that is non-criminal in nature. For example, if you were involved in an accident to which Texas police were called then the accident report filed by the police will be considered a part of your police record, even if the accident wasn’t caused by any criminal wrongdoing. So if you have a police record, don’t panic! It is no guarantee that you actually have a criminal record too.